It all started back at Brewers On Deck in January 2020. Ryan Braun acknowledged for the first time that his final season may be coming up.
2020 was the final guaranteed year of his contract with the Brewers. The Crew bought out the option year and Braun was a free agent for the first time in his career. He has yet to make a formal decision on the matter of retirement.
During Monday’s spring training game, Braun came down to Phoenix for a visit and spent some time with Bob Uecker in the radio booth. Uecker was digging hard for Braun to return and kept pressing on the matter.
Is Ryan Braun leaning towards a return or retirement right now?
Braun says he’s not just leaning, but “strongly leaning” towards retirement at the moment.
Andrew Wagner of the Wisconsin State Journal kept a thread covering what Braun and Ueck were saying on the radio broadcast.
Uecker did his best to get Braun to think about coming back to baseball, but Braun wouldn’t budge too much.
Braun did state that if he were to come back, it would be with the Brewers, saying “I can’t foresee a scenario in which I play for any other Major League team”. So there’s no chance that he would sign a deal with his hometown Dodgers or Angels or anyone else. It’s Milwaukee or Retirement for Braun.
Ryan Braun’s comments still leave the door open to a possible return to the Brewers.
While Braun was adamant that he’s focused on parenting and his family life and that he couldn’t promise he’d return to baseball, he also didn’t shut the door completely.
He left it open just a little bit, so that in case he gets the itch as the regular season goes on, he might call up the Brewers and try to work something out.
Given the Crew’s current outfield situation, it may be tough to get him at-bats, especially since there is no DH at the Brewers disposal this year. However, Braun would be a great first bat off the bench for Craig Counsell and if an injury occurs to any of the Big 4 in the Brewers outfield, Braun could step right in.
He hasn’t picked up a bat or a baseball since last season ended, so he will need some time to ramp up, but that’s a decision that’s a few months down the road.
Braun is kicking the can as far down the road as he can on making a retirement decision, and we’ll see what happens in the coming months. Don’t be totally surprised if Braun gets the itch and wants to come back, but also don’t expect it to happen, either.
It was good to see Braun back in Maryvale and hanging out with the Brewers. Even if he doesn’t put on the uniform again, he’s going to be a regular sight in Milwaukee and around the team in some way, shape, or form.